Haines big game guide fined, placed on probation for illegal hunting activities

Tegan Hanlon

A federal judge Tuesday handed down a $40,000 fine and four years of probation to a Haines big game guide who pleaded guilty to a number of illegal hunting charges involving brown and black bear and mountain goats.

Ronald L. Martin, 72, was sentenced in a Juneau federal court on five felony Lacey Act counts involving the illegal take of wildlife, false labeling and illegal importation of wildlife , according to a statement from the U.S. attorney's office.

Martin's case is part of a larger joint United States-Canadian wildlife investigation called "Operation Bruin," according to the federal prosecutor, Jack Schmidt.

The investigation revealed that Martin and his clients would file false documents for illegal guided hunts and smuggle wildlife from the U.S. to Canada, according to the statement. Martin also illegally imported Dall sheep from the Yukon during the fall of 2011. He failed to obtain a permit and smuggled the sheep from Canada by concealing the horns and meat in his trailer, according to the release.

Martin pleaded guilty to multiple illegal hunts, falsification of numerous documents related to those illegal hunts and the importation of illegal wildlife from Canada to the United States before U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess.

Under the plea agreement, Martin, a guide for more than 30 years, is banned from hunting and engaging in guiding services in the United States for the term of his probation. He cannot hunt anywhere in the world for two years. Martin was also ordered to forfeit all illegal wildlife seized during the investigation and an enclosed trailer that he had used to illegally transport wildlife.

In May, Martin faced illegal hunting charges in Alaska state court. He pleaded guilty to one count of guiding clients over an unregistered bear-baiting site and one count of guiding clients for brown bear over bait. He was fined $40,000 with $30,000 suspended. He forfeited items including a PA-18 Piper Supercub airplane, a F250 Ford pickup truck and a .338 Caliber rifle with a Leopold Scope, according to the statement. His hunting license was revoked until May 2016 and he surrendered his guide license for life.